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Should delight little ones with rhythmic and repetitive words and actions.

An Inuit child’s flight from a bumblebee sends them running across Nunavut.

Happily playing on the playground, Apita is startled by the buzzing of the bee. Frightened, Apita cries, “Qaariaq, qaariaq, qaariaq,” which translates to “Don’t come near me!” This determined bee follows Apita from one community to the next as the kid, clad in a puffy red-and-white–checked coat, runs and runs. Three days later, Apita reaches the town of Igloolik, but the bee is there, buzzing, “Apita, wait for me!” Apita does not, running from the unwelcome insect for five more days. When Apita reaches Rankin Inlet, they stop, puffing from the effort. The bee has followed the child again, but this time Apita has stopped long enough to hear the bee’s protestation: “Apita, I won’t hurt you!” Apita finally understands, responding, “Come here, dear little bee.…I’m not afraid of you!” Finally Apita understands that they’ve been running away from an energetic playmate. Inuk singer/songwriter Han adapts her song “Qaariaq” for this brief picture book, incorporating lots of repetition that will lend the story to reading aloud. (Readers who do not speak Inuktitut will be grateful for the glossary and pronunciation guide on the final page.) Peturs’ soft line-and-color illustrations depict a treeless landscape dotted with sprays of small purple flowers, likely purple saxifrage. A large red school building greets Apita in Igloolik and an inuksuk in Rankin Inlet, embracing both modernity and tradition. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Should delight little ones with rhythmic and repetitive words and actions. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-772-27300-7

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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Animated and educational.

A hare and a ground squirrel banter about the differences between related animals that are often confused for one another.

Jack is “no Flopsy, Mopsy, or Cottontail,” but a “H-A-R-E, hare!” Like sheep and goats, or turtles and tortoises, rabbits and hares may look similar, but hares are bigger, their fur changes color in the winter, and they are born with their eyes wide open. As the ground squirrel (not to be mistaken for a chipmunk (even though Jack cheekily calls it “Chippie”) and Jack engage in playful discussion about animals, a sneaky coyote prowls after them through the Sonoran Desert. This picture book conveys the full narrative in spirited, speech-bubbled dialogue set on expressive illustrations of talking animals. Dark outlines around the characters make their shapes pop against the softly blended colors of the desert backgrounds. Snappy back-and-forth paired with repetition and occasional rhyme enhances the story’s appeal as a read-aloud. As the story progresses, the colors of the sky shift from dawn to dusk, providing subtle, visual bookends for the narrative. One page of backmatter offers a quick guide to eight easily confused pairs, and a second turns a subsequent exploration of the book into a seek-and-find of 15 creatures (and one dessert) hidden in the desert. Unfortunately, while most of the creatures from the seek-and-find appear in poses that match the illustrations in the challenge, not all of them are consistently represented. (This book was reviewed digitally with 7-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 53.3% of actual size.)

Animated and educational. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-12506-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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